Thursday, April 11, 2013

A-Z: "J" is for John from The Miller's Tale in Canterbury Tales

A-Z, baby! And today's "J" post is for John, a character in The Miller's Tale.  The prologues are infectious and vital to these tales.  Since the Miller's tale is directly after the Knight's Tale--remember the Knight's Tale? The one about the two prisoners vying for the love of the unsuspecting maiden, Emelye?  If you missed my post on the Knight's Tale click here.  Since the Knight did such a spectacular job with his tale, our trusty Host challenged the other travelers:
6 Our host, he laughed and swore, So may I run, 

7 But this goes well; unbuckled is the mail;

8 Let's see now who can tell another tale:

9 For certainly the game is well begun.

In short, he refers to the Knight kicking off their game with a noble tale and asks the questions to the other travelers who will be next.  Of course the Miller is drunk and offers to tell a tale that's worthy of a drunken fool.  And so goes the drunk Miller's vulgar tale about John the ignorant, wealthy carpenter, his young pretty wife (Alison) and a young boarder, Nicholas who cuckolds him.

Basically, John's oblivious to Nicholas seducing his wife and then another man, Absalom, comes along and tries to seduce his wife too.  The best part of this tale is towards the end.  Nicholas and Alison become more bold with their affair and Nicholas tricks John, sending him on wild goose chase to prepare for the impending flood.  Abaslom tries to seduce Alison by serenading her but all his attempts are futile.  She's tires of him and tells him she's in love with another.  One night after a night of lovemaking with Nicholas, she devises a plan and calls for Abaslom to her window to come give her a kiss.  Abaslom grows near, closes his eyes to do so and ends up kissing her bearded asshole. (Eww!)  Of course I laughed.  Chaucer warned us via the Miller's ranting that the tale was vulgar and it gets better.  Why?  Because the next part involves Nicholas and you'll have to wait for "N" to learn what happens.  

Do you remember The Miller Tale?  What about John or any of the others?  Do you find it funny or disgustingly inappropriate? 

Mina B.

7 comments:

Jackie said...

LOL That's disgusting of her to do that, but I couldn't help but laugh. I vaguely remember The Miller Tale, though.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yes, that's disgusting.

Laura said...

The Miller's Tale was the first one that I read, and I loved it! It really converted me with Chaucer, and made me want to read the rest :)

Dani said...

Gross! Simple put.
Dani @ Entertaining Interests
#warriorminion

S. L. Hennessy said...

You just gotta love those vulgar stories. He makes me laugh.

mshatch said...

I had no idea they wrote such naughty stuff back then! I don't think my teachers ever read that part of the tale to us!

Jocelyn Rish said...

So naughty! When I visited England, I made sure to spend a day in Canterbury. The Cathedral was breathtaking, and I also took the cheesy Canterbury Tales tour. Plus I bought myself a new copy of the book, just so I could say I my copy actually came from Canterbury. :-)

Best of luck with the A to Z challenge,
Jocelyn